By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Two local students were named semifinalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Nicholas Beachy and Dillon Miller, both seniors at Jonathan Alder High School, have the opportunity to advance to the finalist level where they will be eligible to win scholarships.
“We haven’t had two semifinalists in the same year in quite a while,” said Ann Davis, Jonathan Alder High School guidance counselor.
Beachy, son of Jeff and Jodi Beachy, plays varsity tennis, competes on the Quick Recall team, plays piano for the show choir, serves as a mentor to freshmen, and performed in the spring musical. He has played piano from the age of 5 and also plays guitar and harmonica.
Miller, son of David and Julie Miller, plays percussion in band, performs in show choir, musicals and plays, and serves as president of the National Honor Society and secretary of student council. He is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life.
Beachy and Miller have known each other since preschool.
“They are really good friends and push each other academically,” said Jodi Beachy.
Both are in the process of choosing what college they want to attend, as well as what course of study they will pursue.
The National Merit program
About 1.5 million students in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of 16,000 semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
To become a finalist, a semifinalist must submit information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards. They must be endorsed by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier performance on the qualifying test.
Of the 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level where over half will receive scholarships. The list of finalists will be announced in February.
The National Merit Scholarship Corp. (NMSC), established in 1955, is a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC and approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions.